Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability

Why You Need a Social Security Disability Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) makes cash benefits available to individuals who become permanently disabled and unable to work before they reach the age at which they could access Social Security retirement benefits. Children can also qualify to receive Social Security disability benefits through a parent or legal guardian.

The Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program is open to individuals with a medically confirmed long-term disability. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments can be approved for who also have little to no household income and few financial resources.

Like the Social Security retirement benefit, SSDI payments are based on people’s age and earnings prior to becoming disabled. SSI payments are a flat rate that undergoes cost of living adjustments in most years. SSI payments may be reduced if someone else is providing the disabled person with housing or other financial assistance.

As Social Security attorneys based in Columbus, Ohio, we encourage everyone who has contributed to the federal retirement and disability system to apply for SSDI and SSI benefits if they believe they are eligible. Initial applications can be completed online or submitted in person at a local SSA office.

Clicking the link to the online application will take you to a list of the information you will need to provide. Preparing your application through the SSA website will also allow you to complete the process in stages, saving your work as you make progress and giving you time to locate essential documents.

A Note About Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Much less well-known than SSDI, SSI provides a literal lifeline to members of our community who cannot work and have few, if any, means of earning income. Those with very little work history can also be eligible to receive SSI benefits.

Monthly SSI payments help recipients meet the daily expenses of living, including rent, food and utilities. They can be approved in addition to SSDI benefits and in addition to disability payments from the VA or nonfederal programs such as workers’ compensation.

Children’s claims are treated a little differently. Children’s SSI claims are claims which are made on behalf of children who are younger than 18 years of age and who have a diagnosed physical or mental disability that is expected to severely limited their activities for a year or longer. The decision to approve SSI payments is made while considering the income and financial resources of the parent or legal guardian who applies in the name of the child.

When to Call a Columbus Social Security Disability Attorney

Our Columbus Social Security Disability lawyers with Agee Clymer can provide the most assistance after an application for SSDI and/or SSI benefits has been denied.

The SSA rejects a large number of initial applications, often for technical reasons. Applicants have multiple opportunities to appeal an unfavorable decision, but the appeals process is complicated, often drawn out, and not stacked in the disabled person’s favor.

Our Columbus Social Security lawyers have decades of experience helping clients all across Ohio succeed with appeals to the Social Security Administration. Based on handling hundreds of cases, we can offer the following insights on how SSDI and SSI work.

If you follow all the rules but still have your benefits application denied, we can offer guidance and legal representation as you navigate the confusing, time-consuming, and often discouraging appeals process. At each stage we will protect your rights and ensure your privacy.

Types of Social Security Disability Claims

The SSA considers two types of claims for disability benefits. Briefly, the categories are

  • Physical disabilities, meaning incapacitating impairments or illnesses that render an applicant unable to engage in any significant productive activity. Examples of physical disabilities that can qualify for Social Security disability benefits are back injuries, chronic pain, and late-stage cancer.
  • Mental disabilities, meaning intellectual, behavioral, or emotional disorders or impairments that significantly limit the ability of an applicant to work for pay. Examples of a qualifying mental disability could be severe depression, anxiety, or autism that has not significantly improved despite extensive treatment.

Are You Eligible to Apply for Social Security Disability Benefits?

To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must 

  • Be younger than your full retirement age;
  • Be blind or have a medically confirmed disability that is expected to keep you out of work for a year or longer;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or authorized to participate in the Social Security program;
  • Have paid into Social Security or be the dependent of someone who has;
  • Accrued enough work credits if you are an adult; and
  • Meet other necessary requirements, as explained on the SSA website.

To qualify for SSI as an adult, you must

  • Be younger than your full retirement age;
  • Blind or disabled in a way that would qualify you to receive SSDI benefits;
  • Have no or very limited income;
  • Have few financial resources or assets;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or national, or be in a specific category of legal aliens;
  • Reside in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands;
  • Have lived in the United States for at least a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days prior to applying;
  • Grant the SSA permission to request your financial records from financial institutions; and
  • Meet other necessary requirements, as explained on the SSA website.

To qualify for SSI as a child, the individual named as the claimant must 

  • Be unmarried;
  • Not be the head of a household;
  • Be younger than 18 years of age, or younger than 22 years of age if they are consistently enrolled in an educational program;
  • Be blind or disabled; and
  • Live in a household with low income and few financial resources.

Navigating the Social Security Disability Appeals Process

While completing the initial application for SSDI and/or SSI benefits is straightforward and something most people can do on their own, appealing the rejection of an application is best done with advice and representation from an experienced Social Security disability attorney.

An appeal can go through four stages. During the first, called Reconsideration, a claims examiner employed by the SSA reviews all of the originally submitted information, and requests updated information from the claimant and their medical providers. Few appealed applications get approved at this stage – roughly 10-15%.

The second stage involves a hearing before an administrative law judge. The judge looks over the case again and will consider new medical evidence. Both the claimant, with the assistance of their lawyer, and a vocational expert answer questions posed by the judge. An appealed application is more likely to be approved after this hearing than at previous levels. However, getting a hearing scheduled may take a long time.

If the judge rules against approving disability benefits, the third stage of the appeal process involves requesting a review of the decision by the Appeals Council. The members look for procedural errors that could justify overturning a ruling.

Members of the Appels Council will issue one of three decisions:

  • Denying the request for review, meaning they took no action at all and the judge’s ruling stands;
  • Remanding the case to the administrative law judge, who then schedules a new hearing; or
  • Overturning the judge’s ruling and awarding disability benefits.

When none of the three appeals results in an approval of benefits, the disabled person has the right to file a lawsuit in federal court.

Agee Clymer does handle federal court appeals.  Please call the office to learn more about this option.

Contact One of Our Columbus, Ohio Social Security Disability Attorneys for a Free Consultation

Find out what a lawyer can do for you. Columbus social security disability attorneys with Agee Clymer handle all types of SSDI and SSI claims, and we have a long track record of winning appeals for our clients. Call us at (614) 221-3318 or connect with us online from anywhere in the state.

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Worker’s Comp Lawyers Columbus, Ohio - Agee Clymer

140 E. Town St. #1100
Columbus, OH 43215